Page images

inherits Adam's fatherhood, inherits nothing, even in our author's sense, but the right Adam had to govern his children, because he begot them : so that the monarchy of the heir would not have taken in Eve; or if it did, it being nothing but the fatherhood of Adam descended by inheritance, the heir must have right to govern Eve, because Adam begot her ; for fatherhood is nothing else.

S. 100. Perhaps it will be said with our author, that a man can alien his power over his child ; and what may be transferred by

; compact, may be poffeffed by inheritance. I answer, a father cannot alien the power he has over his child: he may perhaps to fomo degrees forfeit it, but cannot transfer it ; and if any other man acquire it, it is not by the father's grant, but by some act of his own. For example, a father, unnaturally careless of his child, sells or gives him to another man; and he again exposes him; a third man finding him, breeds up, cherishes, and provides for him as his own : I think in this case, no body will doubt, but that the greata eft part of filial duty and subjection was here owing, and to be paid to this foster-father ; and if any thing could be demanded from the child, by either of the other, it could be only due to his natural father, who perhaps might have forfeited his right to much of that duty comprehended in the command, Honour your parents, but could transfer none of it to another. He that purchased, and

I 2


neglected the child, got by his purchase and grant of the father, no title to duty or honour from the child; but only he acquired it, who by his own authority, performing the office and care of a father, to the forlorn and perishing infant, made himself, by paternal care, a title to proportionable degrees of paternal power. This will be more easily admitted upon

consideration of the nature of paternal power, for which I refer my reader to the second book.

$. 101. To return to the argument in hand; this is evident, That paternal power arising only from begetting, for in that our author places it alone, can neither be transferred nor inherited: and he that does not beget; can no more have paternal power, which arises from thence, than he can have a right to any thing, who performs not the condition, to which only it is annexed. If one should ask, by what law has a father power over his children ? it will be answered, no doubt, by the law of nature, which gives such a power over them, to him that begets them. If one should ask likewise, by what law does our author's heir come by a right to inherit ? I think it would be answered, by the law of nature too : for I find not that our author brings one word of scripture to prove the right of such an heir he speaks of. Why then the law of nature gives fathers paternal power over their children, because they did beget them; and


[ocr errors]

the same law of nature gives the same paternal power to the heir over his brethren, who did not beget them : whence it follows, that either the father has not his paternal power by begetting, or else that the heir has it not at all ; for it is hard to understand how the law of nature, which is the law of reason, can give the paternal power to the father over his children, for the only reason of begetting ; and to the first-born over his brethren without this only reason, i. e. for no reason at all : and if the eldest, by the law of nature, can inherit this paternal power, without the only reason that gives a title to it, so may the youngest, as well as he, and a stranger as well as either ; for where there is no reason for any one, as there is not, but for him that begets, all have an equal title. I am sure our author offers no reason ; and when

any body does, we shall see whether it will hold or no.

$.102. In the mean time it is as good sense to say, that by the law of nature a man has right to inherit the property of another, because he is of kin to him, and is known to be of his blood; and therefore, by the same law of nature, an utter stranger to his blood has right to inherit his estate ; as to say that, by the law of nature, he that begets them has paternal power over his children, and therefore, by the law of nature, the heir that begets them not, has this paternal power over them; or fupposing the law of the land



1 3

[ocr errors]

gave absolute power over their children, to such only who nursed them, and fed their children themselves, could any body pretend, that this law gave any one, who did no such thing, absolute power over those, who were not his children

§. 103. When therefore it can be shewed, that conjugal power can belong to him that is not an husband, it will also I believe be proved, that our author's paternal power, acquired by begetting, may be inherited by a son; and that a brother, as heir to his father's power, may have paternal power over his brethren, and by the fame rule conjugal power too : but" till then, I think we may rest satisfied, that the paternal power of Adam, this sovereign authority of fatherhood, were there any such, could not descend to, nor be inherited by, his next heir. Fatherly power, L easily grant our author, if it will do him any good, can never be lost, because it will be as long in the world as there are fathers : but none of them will have Adam's paternal power, or derive their's from him; but every one will have his own, by the fame title Adam had his, viz. by begetting, but not by inheritance, or succession, no more than husbands have their conjugal power by inheritance from Adam. And thus we see, as Adam had no such property, no such paternal power, as gave him fovereign jurisdiction over mankind; so likewise his sovereignty built upon either of these titles, if he had any such, could not


have defcended to his heir, but must have ended with him. Adam therefore, as has been proved, being neither monarch, nor his imaginary monarchy hereditable, the power which is now in the world, is not that which was Adam's, since all that Adam could have upon our author's grounds, either of property or father bood, neceffarily died with him, and could not be conveyed to posterity by inheritance. In the next place we will consider, whether Adam had any such heir, to inherit his power, as our author talks of.

[ocr errors]


P. Of the Heir to Adam's Monarchical Power. $. 104.

UR author tells us, Obser

vations, 253. That it is a truth undeniable, that there cannot be any multitude of men whatsoever, either great or small, tho' gathered together from the several corners and remoteft regions of the world, but that in the Jame multitude, confidered by its felf, there is one man amongst them, that in nature hath a right to be king of all the rest, as being the next heir to Adam, and all the other subjects to him : every man by nature is a king or a subject. And again, p. 20. If Adam himself were still living, and now ready to die, it is certain that there is one man, and but one in the world, who is next beir. Let this multitude of men be, if

« PreviousContinue »